In the first group game against Russia , Italy got off to a good start with a 2-1 win thanks to two goals from Pierluigi Casiraghi (5th and 52nd minute) and a goal from Ilja Zymbalar (21st minute). The second group game was sensationally lost against the Czechs with 1: 2. Pavel Nedvěd had put the underdog in the lead in the fifth minute, Enrico Chiesa equalized in the 18th minute. After Radek Bejbl took the Czech lead again in the 35th minute, the Italians failed to score.
In the third group game, the Italian selection would have needed a win with a two-goal difference to overtake Germany, who were already safely in the next round, and to be safely qualified for the quarter-finals. Despite a playful superiority, it was not possible to accommodate the ball in Andreas Köpke's goal . He held a penalty shot by Gianfranco Zola in the 9th minute and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Since parallel the Czech Republic through a goal shortly before the final whistle by Vladimír Šmicerplayed a draw against Russia, the two national teams were tied on points. Although the Czechs had the worse goal difference, thanks to the 2-1 success they prevailed in a direct comparison and qualified for the quarter-finals.